Letchford Family - F88

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Letchford Family
William Martin and Fanny - F88
Marriage Nov 1848
Gawler Place Chapel, Adelaide
Name William Martin Letchford
Lived 1824 – 1880
Name Fanny Hillier
William Letchford (b. 1851)
Thomas Letchford (b. 1853)
Fanny Letchford (b. 1857)
Frederick Letchford (b. 1860)
Eliza Letchford (b. 20 Nov 1849)
Voyage to Adelaide in 1864
Under command of Captain David Bruce
Departure port London
Departure date 6th August 1864
Arrival port Port Adelaide
Arrival date 7th November 1864
Voyage duration 93 days
Port of Call
Port of call Plymouth
Arrival 12th Aug 1864
Departure 12th Aug 1864

Eliza, Fanny and Frederick

When the Letchford children, Eliza 14, Fanny 6 and (probably) Frederick 4, boarded the City of Adelaide in London in August 1864, they were returning to rejoin their father in Adelaide. It would appear that their mother had died in London early in 1863. Their father had certainly remarried in Adelaide in September 1863, and a new brother had been born there in June 1864.

William Martin Letchford (1824-1880) was born to Charles and Jane Letchford in the London borough of Hammersmith where his father was a grocer on King Street, the main shopping strip. In the mid 1840s young William migrated to South Australia. In November 1848 he married 19 years old Fanny Hillier in the Gawler Place Chapel, Adelaide, and their first three children, Eliza 1849, William 1851 and Thomas 1853, were all born in Adelaide.

W M Letchford established himself as a Landbroker and Real Estate Agent in Waterhouse Chambers, King William Street, one or two doors south of Rundle Street. He was also confidential manager for Mr T G Waterhouse. In his earlier years William had set up in South Adelaide a soap and candle factory which was later known as Tidmarsh and Co. He was instrumental in arranging amalgamations that led to starting the South Australian Carrying Company, of which he was a very large shareholder. He was also a director of the Equitable Insurance Company and of the Equitable Building and Investment Society.

After a country section in Lower Mitcham was subdivided in 1854, fourteen acres were taken up by William Letchford who began building the large house that is now known as Eynesbury in the present day suburb of Kingswood. Fanny Letchford gave birth to two more children here, Fanny jnr in 1857 and Frederick in 1860.

William was actively interested in politics, and involved himself in ensuring the Constitution Act of South Australia was established. He joined the committee of the “Mitcham Library and Improvement Society” in 1857, but he resisted further entry into public life.

Following the death of his first wife, William Letchford married Anne Hillier 27 in his Lower Mitcham residence in September 1963. Here Anne Letchford gave birth to a son Frank in the following June.

When his second wife in turn died there in July 1872 aged 36, William sold the house and property at Lower Mitcham. The new owners, George and Annie Wilcox from Gawler, enhanced the large house considerably and named it Eynesbury after Annie’s birthplace in England. William Letchford moved to another large house in Albert Terrace on the esplanade at Glenelg, and he died there in December 1880 at the age of 56.

In 1871 W M Letchford had taken into his real estate business as a managing clerk, Claude J S Shuttleworth (1848-1921), who had been born in London and had migrated to Adelaide with his parents in 1849 on the Athenian. His legal and commercial contributions were invaluable, and in 1879 he became one of the first Land Brokers in South Australia to gain his licence by examination. He was also a leading chess player.

After the death of his father in December 1880 at the age of 56, Thomas Letchford entered into partnership with Claude as Shuttleworth and Letchford. The partnership was dissolved in 1882 when Thomas went off to the Western Australian goldfields, and Shuttleworth became the sole proprietor, retaining the firm’s name. The real estate business flourished at the same King William Street site for almost 90 years, and it moved to the YMCA building at 50 Grenfell Street in 1947.

Eliza Letchford, 24, married Frank S Botting, a 25 years old brewer at Haussen and Co, in Stow Church, Adelaide in November 1873 and, living on Queen Street in Norwood, in Kensington Park and in Mitcham, they had four daughters, then one son.

Her younger sister Fanny Letchford married warehouseman Charles E Taylor in March 1877 at St Michael’s Mitcham, and gave birth to three sons in Mitcham and in Beulah Road at Norwood.

William Smith and Jane Hillier

We have been unable to find any connection between William M Letchford’s two wives Fanny and Anne Hillier and William Smith Hillier and his wife Jane Hillier.

Following the death of his first wife, William Letchford married Anne Hillier 27 in his Lower Mitcham residence in September 1963. Whilst it may just have been a coincidence, but considering the speed that William remarried after learning that his first wife died and to another woman with the surname HILLIER, then there is a likelihood that Fanny and Anne hillier were related - perhaps sisters.

Thus it may be that on that 1864 maiden voyage William and Jane Hillier were accompanying their nieces and nephew back to live with their father who had possibly now married another aunt.

We have been unable to find a reference to the Hillier couple in any South Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages records, before or after their 1864 voyage. They may have just been escorting their nieces and nephew, or the surnames are purely coincidental and they were ‘in transit’ to another colony. Fanny, Anne, William, Jane and Hillier are such common names in Britain that a search there becomes a major project. We don’t have enough jigsaw pieces and have not been able to link them together, nor confirm they are unrelated.

If you have any information regarding the mystery of William and Jane Hillier please Contact Us.



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Researched by Ron Roberts, Adelaide, SA. 2008